A public seminar given by Professor Walter Doyle, University of Arizona, at the Oxford University Department of Education.
A basic tension exists in education between ideas and reform proposals, on the one hand, and practical work in classrooms, on the other. Teacher educators are often disappointed that their graduates do not use what they have been taught in their preparation programs. Similarly, designers of new curricula or reform teaching approaches are disheartened that teachers often ignore these innovations or translate them into the familiar patterns of normal practice. Conventional attempts to resolve this tension focus on modifying teachers' knowledge, beliefs, and skills with respect to the recommended practices. Recent analyses of the nature of practical work suggest that greater focus needs to be placed on understanding the goal systems and tools embedded in the work teachers actually do. This presentation will review some recent work on practical rationality and heuristics that is focused on bridging ideas and practice in teaching.